Well, we have all known for some time that many politicians have been engaged in drug trafficking while playing the hypocrite and advancing the “war on drugs.” It’s now being reported (not by the mainstream media) that the Ping May, a cargo vessel owned by the in-laws of Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, was boarded by Colombian inspectors and they discovered roughly ninety pounds of cocaine in forty separate packages.
The Nation reports:
The seizure of the narcotics shipment in the Caribbean port occurred far away from Kentucky, the state in which Senator Mitch McConnell is now facing a career-defining election. But the Republican Senate minority leader has the closest of ties to the owner of the Ping May, the vessel containing the illicit materials: the Foremost Maritime Corporation, a firm founded and owned by McConnell’s in-laws, the Chao family.
Though Foremost has played a pivotal role in McConnell’s life, bestowing the senator with most of his personal wealth and generating thousands in donations to his campaign committees, the drug bust went unnoticed in Kentucky, where every bit of McConnell-related news has generated fodder for the campaign trail. That’s because, like many international shipping companies, Chao’s firm is shrouded from public view, concealing its identity and limiting its legal liability through an array of tax shelters and foreign registrations. Registered through a limited liability company in the Marshall Islands, the Ping May flies the Liberian flag.
McConnell’s ties to the Chaos go back to the late 1980s, when James Chao began donating to the senator. In 1993, McConnell married James’s daughter, Elaine Chao, a Republican activist and former Reagan administration official who would later serve as secretary of labor in the George W. Bush cabinet. James Chao emigrated to the United States from Taiwan, and founded the Foremost Maritime Corporation upon settling in New York. The company has grown significantly over the years, from acting as maritime agent during the Vietnam War to controlling a fleet of approximately sixteen dry-bulk cargo ships in operation today.
This information was not reported in the mainstream, though it occurred before the November elections. Does anyone think this might have had an impact on McConnell’s win Tuesday? While some may claim that we should have known about this, I would simply say that I am simply unable to know all things, but with the resources of the mainstream media and its many outlets, they should be aware of this news.
According to Politico, McConnell and his wife:
…received a personal gift from a family member worth between $5 million and $25 million, according to his annual financial disclosure report, which was released on Friday morning.
The gift came from Chao’s father, Dr. James S.C. Chao, a wealthy Chinese-born businessman, and it boosted McConnell’s personal worth from a minimum of $3 million in 2007 to more than $7 million.
“That was a gift from Secretary Chao’s father in April 2008 to the Senator and the Secretary, in memory of her mother, who passed away in August 2007,” said Don Stewart, McConnell’s spokesman. Ruth Mulan Chu was a historian.
Gifts of any value from family members to senators are permitted under Senate ethics rules.
While he invested the bulk of the money, McConnell used a portion of the gift to pay off a $100,000-plus mortgage on a Washington, D.C. home, and it more than offset significant losses suffered by the couple in their stock portfolio, the records show.
He has been known to be a pretty outspoken prohibitionist against drugs too. McConnell sponsored the 1996 “Enhanced Marijuana Penalties Act,” which was written to increase the mandatory minimum sentence for marijuana possession.
The Nation spoke with Luis Gonzales, an official with the Colombian Coast Guard in Santa Mart, who confirmed that the crew was questioned, but that charges have not yet been filed.
The Free Thought Project adds some insight into the ridiculous notion of the war on drugs:
We have seen this all before during alcohol prohibition, where the government, law enforcement and organized crime were all working together and making an unbelievable amount of money in the black market. When black markets are created the crime rate goes up, taxes go up, prices go up and the police become more corrupt, all of this is inevitable. These are in fact the very consequences that any type of prohibition intends to create.
To solve these problems all that we have to do is end all prohibitions, this would cripple the black market and drastically reduce violence. This would also drastically reduce the reach of police and the state in general, which is why it is looked at as such an impossibility. Drug laws don’t do anything to prevent drug problems in our society, they only encourage violence, raise prices and criminalize half of the population.
Consider that this is the same man that believed the establishment Republicans would “crush” the Tea Party “everywhere.” While McConnell is not responsible for the actions of his relatives, I don’t see him speaking out against these actions either. We’ll just have to wait and see what comes of the situation, but I would hope that true conservatives would urge him to speak out on the issue.